Fedweek

In a move that runs counter to the recent direction of federal labor relations, Congress has passed a bill creating a joint union-management committee to address personnel issues at the TSA.

The bill (HR-302) reauthorizes the FAA—including a rejection of proposals to privatize air traffic control functions—as well as the TSA, which has had several restrictive personnel policies, including on disciplinary matters and bargaining, since its creation following the 9/11 attacks.

The bill calls on the TSA to “convene a working group consisting of representatives of the TSA and representatives of the labor organization representing security screening personnel to recommend reforms to the TSA’s personnel management system, including appeals to the Merit Systems Protection Board and grievance procedures.” That group is to report within a year.

The AFGE union said it “looks forward to working with TSA management on the newly created committee to determine ways to address employee concerns” at the TSA, which for many years has experienced notably high turnover and notably low ratings in the annual federal employee survey.

The bill also orders the FAA to revise its safety workforce training strategy and orders the GAO to issue a report on skills and qualifications required of aviation safety inspectors and aviation safety engineers and incentive programs for them.